3 posts tagged “doctor patient relationship”

How to prepare for a doctor’s appointment: 7 tips from member Cathy

Posted June 8th, 2018 by

Ever feel confused or overwhelmed after a doctor’s appointment? Forget to ask important questions or bring up new symptoms? Covering all of your concerns in a 30-minute appointment can be tricky. MS community member Cathy can relate — read on to see how she’s learned to make the most of her appointments and check out her 7 tips for getting the answers she needs.

In 1986 I noticed something was awry when my legs were completely numb, my arms were weak, and I was always physically exhausted. I felt scared, isolated and confused. I scheduled an appointment with my internist who referred me to a neurologist. After a spinal tap and CT scan the tests were conclusive. I had multiple sclerosis.

I was happy to have a name for what I had but that didn’t diminish my confusion. I decided my neurologist would lighten my emotional load at my next appointment and, like Scarlett O’Hara, I’d think about it all another day. In hindsight I realize this was not a good plan.

Learning how to self-advocate

One of the most important lessons I learned over the last three decades is you must always advocate for your health instead of letting others do it for you. Self-advocacy must be our number one priority. In today’s health care climate, when doctors are often inundated and pressed for time, it’s crucial to get answers to our questions during the thirty minutes or so of medical appointments.

As Megan Weigel, a Doctor of Nursing and the president of the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses explains:

“The advice I give about preparing for a doctor’s appointment is to think about your goals for the visit and consider that your healthcare provider may have different goals. For example, you may want to talk about your top three most bothersome symptoms, and your provider may need to talk about labs…or other tests that you need. I usually tell patients to have a list of questions that they want to ask or topics that they want to discuss. I also tell them to come prepared to take notes…and to ask for what you need, including written instructions or what to follow up on in the office.”

Preparing for your next doctor’s appointment:

To avoid feeling anxious, overwhelmed or worried about doctor appointments I created a list of reminders I use so I will be fully prepared for my next visit:

  • Organize your medical history by having copies of medical records, x-rays, scans or other lab tests and the names/phone numbers of previous doctors. You can have these sent directly to your doctor from your previous doctor (you will first need to sign a consent form) either before your appointment or bring them with you.
  • Keep a journal of your symptoms. It does’t need to be elaborate, just a word or two to help you remember.
  • Bring a list of questions with you. I keep a piece of paper on my nightstand to write down questions and concerns I have. Do not leave your appointment until everything on your list is addressed.
  • Ask a family member or friend to come with you to help explain your symptoms, or to be a good listener and take notes.
  • Be specific about your symptoms, how they affect you and when they happen.
  • Bring a list of any medications and supplements you are taking including dosage and inform the doctor of any allergic reactions to medications.
  • Request a brief verbal summary and follow-up instructions to review what was discussed. If you’re nervous or need extra time to process information this review can be particularly helpful.

Remember that you and your doctor are managing your health as a team. The more prepared you are for your appointment the stronger your team will be!

How do you prepare for a doctor’s appointment? Anything you’d add to Cathy’s list? Join PatientsLikeMe to chime in and get more tips from the community.

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PatientsLikeMe Acquires Online Pain Management Company, ReliefInsite

Posted February 16th, 2010 by

Today’s news release announcing acquisition of ReliefInsite.  Want to receive future announcements?  Sign up for our RSS feed on the press page.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PATIENTSLIKEME ACQUIRES ONLINE PAIN MANAGEMENT COMPANY, RELIEFINSITE
20,000 Patients Reporting Moderate to Severe Pain on PatientsLikeMe

Cambridge, MA and New York City, NY – February 16, 2010 – Today, PatientsLikeMe, the leading online community for patients with life-changing diseases, announces the acquisition of ReliefInsite, a pioneering online pain management company.

“Right now, there are more than 20,000 patients on PatientsLikeMe experiencing real pain,” says Ben Heywood, President and Co-founder of PatientsLikeMe.  “By acquiring ReliefInsite, we can improve the way we help patients effectively manage their pain.”

Conceived by founder Fred Eberlein in 2000, ReliefInsite’s patented online pain management technology developed into a secure HIPAA-compliant platform designed to help patients monitor their pain levels and share that information directly with their doctors.

“I’ve spent more than a decade inventing and advancing the technology platform at ReliefInsite to help patients manage their pain and improve the patient-doctor relationship,” says Eberlein.  “I’m excited this work has led me to my new home at PatientsLikeMe, where we can work together to better align industry’s interests with improving patients’ quality of life.”

ReliefInsite will continue to support its existing pharmaceutical and clinical clients as its functionality is integrated into the PatientsLikeMe platform. Eberlein joins the PatientsLikeMe team to lead the companies’ integration and enhance product offerings for partners in the life sciences industry.

picture-1Pain is a common symptom for people with all of the diseases on PatientsLikeMe, and is most prevalent in diseases like fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. In the depression community, thousands of patients report they are currently experiencing “back pain” or “stomach pain,” with 50% of those members describing their pain as moderate or severe. Across all of the disease communities, pain is a topic of discussion in more than 61,000 forum posts. Additionally, patients are using hundreds of treatment options to manage their pain from prescription medications, such as Cymbalta and Lyrica, to alternative solutions like acupuncture, massage and physical therapy.

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PatientsLikeMe member lscanlon